Peres showing slight improvement after stroke, doctors say
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Peres showing slight improvement after stroke, doctors say

China sends message of support to former president, who remains ‘serious but stable’

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv on July 27, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv on July 27, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres saw “slight improvement” on Thursday but remained in serious condition after suffering a major stroke nine days earlier.

The 93-year-old Peres was hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv on September 13. He has been under sedation since then, with his condition consistently described as serious but stable.

“The medical status of the ninth president Shimon Peres is stable and there has been a slight improvement in his breathing,” his spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that doctors were continuing to monitor his neurological state.

The Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming visited the Sheba Medical Center Thursday morning to pass on wishes of support to Peres and his family from Beijing, calling Peres the father of Sino-Israeli ties.

“The Chinese people admire and respect Shimon Peres just like the rest of the world. He is a great and important friend to the Chinese people and we have immense respect and deep appreciation for him,” Zhang said.

Former President Shimon Peres meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, April 8, 2014. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash 90)
Former president Shimon Peres meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, April 8, 2014. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash 90)

Although Peres remains sedated, his medical team decided on Sunday to gradually reduce the respiratory support as well as the level of anesthesia currently being administered.

Also on Sunday a senior neurologist at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem said Peres’s condition had likely moved “from the acute to the chronic” — meaning he was likely no longer in life-threatening danger but now faced more protracted health challenges.

Prof. Avinoam Reches told the Walla news website Saturday that “when a man suffers such massive bleeding there is immediate danger to his life. I am not the doctor in attendance and his medical file is not open to me, but according to reports coming from the hospital, our friends in Sheba worked correctly and succeeded in stabilizing his condition, so the immediate danger has passed.

“Peres,” Reches said, “is still in danger, but his main enemies now are the inevitable infections coming from a long hospitalization and the development of an edema around the hematoma in his head [a swelling around blood vessels affected by the stroke].”

Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, one of the country’s most admired symbols and the last surviving link to its founding fathers.

Over a seven-decade career, he’s held virtually every senior political office, including two stints as prime minister and extended terms as foreign, defense and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Long a divisive personality in Israeli politics, Peres finally became one of Israel’s most popular public figures in his later years.

World leaders have sent wishes of a speedy recovery to the former president, recalling his achievements and warm personality.

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